Stroke of Genius

Victor Trumper and the Shot that Changed Cricket

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About The Book

‘The year’s best cricket book’ Daily Telegraph
‘Well researched and engagingly written, this exemplary work reveals a hidden history…superbly told story’ Sunday Times
‘Easily the cricket book of the year, of the century…It extends the possibility of cricket-writing-as-literature’ Suresh Menon, The Hindu

It is arguably the most famous photograph in the history of cricket. In George Beldam's picture, Victor Trumper is caught in mid stroke, the personification of cricketing grace, skill and power, about to hit the ball long and hard. Yet this image, 'Jumping Out', is important not only because of who it depicts, but also what it illustrates about the changing nature of the game and how it has been seen. Now, in Gideon Haigh's brilliant new book, Stroke of Genius, we learn not only about the man in the picture but also the iconography of Trumper's powerful position in cricket's mythology. 

For many, Australian batsman Trumper was the greatest ever. Neville Cardus wrote: 'I have never yet met a cricketer who, having seen and played with Victor Trumper, did not describe him without doubt or hesitation as the most accomplished of all batsmen of his acquaintance.' Like Lionel Messi or Roger Federer today, he defied the obvious bounds of affiliation. Unlike the current generation of sporting stars, however, there were no memoirs or papers, very few interviews, no action footage - even his date of birth is a matter of debate and conjecture. What isn't in doubt, though, is the impact he had on the game and on his nation. 

Haigh reveals how Trumper, and 'Jumping Out', helped to change cricket from the Victorian era of static imagery to something much more dynamic, modern and compelling. As such, Trumper helped not only transform cricket but even the way his country viewed itself. 
     

About The Author

Gideon Haigh has been writing about sport, business, both and neither, for more than 30 years. His previous biography, On Warne, won the MCC/Cricket Society and the British Sports Book Awards prizes as the cricket book of the year. He lives in Melbourne.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (September 2016)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471146800

Raves and Reviews

‘Australia’s finest writer on cricket now turns his masterly prose to another legendary cricketer…his quest is gripping’ 

– Richard Morrison, The Times

‘Impeccably researched…the book is a triumph’ 

– Benedict Gardner, All Out Cricket

‘This may be the book Haigh was destined to write. Rich and rewarding… this is the cricket book of the year’ 

– Paul Edwards, Cricinfo

‘A study befitting the man Haigh describes as being the first Australian to be the best in the world at anything’ 

– Russell Jackson, Guardian Australia

‘A cracking book...fabulous, thought-provoking

– Tanya Aldred, Cricketer

‘The year’s best cricket book

– Daily Telegraph Books of the Year

‘Well researched and engagingly written, this exemplary work reveals a hidden history…superbly told story’ 

– Sunday Times Sport Book of the Year.

‘Brings a virtuoso’s breadth of reference and perception to a famous photograph of cricketer Victor Trumper.’ 

– Huw Richards, Guardian

‘One of his best yet…it is ultimately about iconography and idolatry’ 

– Andy Bull, Observer

‘Easily the cricket book of the year, of the century…It extends the possibility of cricket-writing-as-literature. If you read only one book published this year, it will have to be this’ 

– Suresh Menon, The Hindu

'In Stroke of Genius, Gideon Haigh has given Jumping Out and the men who created it the richly perceptive tribute they have always deserved'

– Mark Ray, The Age

'The true stroke of genius is Haigh’s, for he brings Trumper to life in a way that not even the adoring Neville Cardus was able to. In so doing, he has created a work of true genius. It transcends cricket. It is the best cricket book and also the best book by an Australian that I have read. Among his prolific output this surely ranks as his greatest work. If it had been his only work, it would have stamped him as a genius... This work stamps him as the best cricket writer ever.'

– Cate McGregor, The Australian

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